Paul Drude (1863-1906)


Paul Karl Ludwig Drude was a German physicist specializing in optics. Drude is well-known for the Drude model and his pioneering work in integrating optics with Maxwell's theories of electromagnetism with great impact on ellipsometry, even if this term was not used at his time.

Drude was born in 1863 in Braunschweig [1]. Initially, he studied mathematics at the University of Göttingen, Freiburg im Breisgau, and Berlin. Later he changed his field of study to physics, completing his doctoral dissertation in 1887 under the supervision of Woldemar Voigt [2]. In 1894 Drude became an extraordinarius professor at the University of Leipzig, in 1901 ordinarius professor of physics at the University of Giessen, in 1905 the director of the physics institute of the University of Berlin, and in 1906 an ordinary member of the Prussian Academy of Sciences. In 1900 he was appointed editor of the most respect scientific journal of his time "Annalen der Physik". He wrote numerous scientific articles and a highly respected textbook on optics [3]. In 1906, a few days after his inauguration lecture at the Academy, for inexplicable reasons, he committed suicide. Drude was survived by his wife Emilie and their four children.


[1] D. Hoffmann, Paul Drude (1863–1906),
Ann. Phys. (Leipzig) 15, 449 – 460 (2006).
    [2] P. Drude, Über die Gesetze der Reflexion und Brechung des Lichtes an der Grenze absorbierender Kristalle (English: On the laws of reflection and refraction of light at the interface to absorbing crystals) ,
Thesis (Metzger & Wittig, Leipzig, 1987); Ann. Phys. 268, 584 - 625 (1887).
    [3] P. Drude, Lehrbuch der Optik, first German ed. (S. Hirzel, Leipzig, 1900);
P. Drude, The Theory of Optics, first English ed. (Longman, Greeen & Co., London, 1902);
Current English ed. (Dover Publication Inc., 2005, ISBN 978-0486441658).


Further reading: